INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Eli Manning posted career highs in passing yards (4,933) and yards per attempt (8.38) a year ago on his way to his third consecutive 4,000-yard season. He’s averaged 29 TD’s during that span. Manning took better care of the football in 2011 as he watched his interceptions drop from 25 in 2010 to 16 during his run to a second Super Bowl ring. The Giants’ signal caller is a solid QB option and one of the top selections in fantasy quarterbacks second tiers.
The 2012 slate is full of challenges for the defending Super Bowl champs. For starters, two of their first three games come in the middle of the week which will make it difficult to get into an early rhythm. Playing in the NFC East is always a daunting task and drawing the NFC South and the AFC North only makes the grind harder. New York faces seven teams that made the playoffs a year ago, including three of the four teams who earned byes a year ago.
It’s a rare that one team can boast two top 10 fantasy wideouts, but the Giants’ Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz may prove to be the exception. Nicks, who broke a bone in his foot during May’s OTA’s, is legitimate candidate to be a top 5 fantasy receiver after eclipsing 75 catches and 1,000 yards for the second straight year with 18 TD’s over his past 28 contests. Cruz emerged as one of fantasy football’s top waiver wire pickups in 2011, finishing third in the NFL in receiving yards (1,536), while ranking among the top 10 in receptions (82) and TD receptions (9).
Even though the Giants’ offense is a high-powered attack, place kicker Lawrence Tynes has yet to emerge as a consistent fantasy option. He’s never kicked more than 27 field goals in a season and connected on just 19 of 24 attempts a year ago. He struggles on long-range kicks, costing owners who get bonus points based on the distance of the field goal. Throw in the cold weather games late in the year that he’ll likely be playing in and Tynes is nothing more than a bye-week filler.
With a current ADP of 39.63 (16th RB off board), Ahmad Bradshaw is falling into the fourth round of many drafts. However, with the departure of Brandon Jacobs his final numbers in 2012 could prove to be much more valuable. Bradshaw totaled 926 yards and scored a career-best 11 touchdowns a year ago despite being limited to playing parts of just 12 games due to injury. If Bradshaw can avoid the injury bug, he should be able to take full advantage of being the team’s unquestioned No. 1 RB.
After watching Mario Manningham depart via free agency, New York moved to add depth to its receiving corps by nabbing Rueben Randle out of LSU with its second-round pick in April’s draft. Widely considered one of the most NFL-ready wide receivers coming out of college, Randle could make an immediate impact. He’ll have to beat out Domenik Hixon and Jerrel Jernigan for snaps and might be inconsistent early in his career, but the rookie wideout has a ton of upside.
Veteran DJ Ware is currently listed as the No. 2 running back on the team’s depth chart, but rookie David Wilson has more fantasy appeal and is the better option as a handcuff to Bradshaw. Ware has been part of the team for five years and has great familiarity with the offense. However, Wilson possesses a much greater skill set and is greatly undervalued heading into drafts. While Ware could be worth a late-round stab, Wilson could be a nice grab in the mid-rounds of a draft and even higher in dynasty/keeper leagues.
Over the past two seasons Kevin Boss and Jake Ballard have both emerged as weapons in the Giants’ passing game at the tight end position. With Boss long gone and Ballard recovering from a knee injury, newcomer Martellus Bennett could be the next in line. The former second-round pick by the Cowboys never really got a chance to shine in Dallas playing behind Jason Witten, but snaps won’t be a problem in New York. He’s worth a look as a late-round TE2 option in deeper formats.
Fantasy Football, NFL